Just who are the Whitmer kidnap-plot conspirators?

Just who are the Whitmer kidnap-plot conspirators?

Remember this in insane-plot analysis: Never ascribe to partisan political motivation that which might be explained by sheer lunacy. The indictment against thirteen people in an insane plot to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer refers to them as “members of the militia group,” but never mentions their political orientation. Whitmer — and the media — assumed them to be radical right-wing militia, and she blamed Donald Trump for inciting them, as Allahpundit noted last night.

But is that accurate? One video of Brandon Caserta found by the Detroit News shows him briefly wearing a Hawaiian shirt, an alleged trademark of the Boogaloos, fringe right-wing provocateurs accused of participating in urban riots to start a race war.

On the other hand, Detroit’s Fox affiliate also found a video of Caserta from YouTube, since removed, in which he attacks law enforcement as a part of illegitimate government. As it turns out, Caserta and possibly some others indicted belonged to a militia group called the Wolverine Watchmen, a group known to law enforcement — for putting targets on their backs:

Thirteen people facing charges from all over the state, but we’re starting to learn more about alleged involvement in these militias.

On a YouTube video of Brandon Caserta can be seen where he is heard expressing his disdain for law enforcement.

“You are not going to achieve freedom by continuing to support these people,” he says.

It is alleged he was among the militia members working to kidnap Governor Gretchen Whitmer from her vacation home up north, storm the Capitol and overthrow the government, partnering with another militia group known as the Wolverine Watchmen. It is a group according to the complaint that was brought to the attention of law enforcement in March for their efforts to find home addresses of police officers to target and kill them.

The name “Wolverine Watchmen” is chef’s-kiss perfect for these addled adolescents, too. The indictment goes into more detail about the plotters’ aims:

On June 20, 2020, FOX, GARBIN, and several other individuals, including CHS2, met at FOX’s business in Grand Rapids. As part of FOX’s operational security, the attendees met in the basement of the shop, which was accessed through a trap door hidden under a rug on the main floor. FOX collected all of their cellular phones in a box and carried them upstairs to prevent any monitoring. CHS-2 was wearing a recording device, however, and captured the audio from the meeting. The attendees discussed plans for assaulting the Michigan State Capitol, countering law enforcement first responders, and using “Molotov cocktails” to destroy police vehicles. …

On July 18, 2020, GARBIN, FOX, CROFT, HARRIS, FRANKS, CHS-2, and other individuals met in Ohio. CHS-2 provided the FBI with an audio recording of the meeting. The attendees discussed attacking a Michigan State Police facility, and in a separate conversation after the meeting, GARBIN suggested shooting up the Governor’s vacation home, which is located in the Western District of Michigan (“the vacation home.”) The same day, GARBIN told CHS-2 and others that he did not want to go after the Capitol. He said he was “cool” with going after the Governor’s vacation home, however, even if it only resulted in destruction of property.

In other words, these aren’t necessarily the kind of right-wingers that some might assume. It sounds like they have more in common with the people attacking law enforcement in the street — and not as a cover, either. Robby Starbuck found the same video and others of Caserta, in which it becomes clear that Caserta sympathized with anarchists … to the extent he had any coherent ideology at all. In two other clips, Caserta declared that anyone participating in government — including voting — is an admission of “participating in slavery.”

Starbuck finds another video from an indicted co-conspirator, Pete Musico, with similar sentiments. But what about Trump, whom Whitmer blames for inspiring this plot? Musico was apparently a fan at one point, but Caserta has some surprising thoughts about the president, too — or perhaps not all that surprising, given the above videos:

In other words, it’s going to be pretty tough to pigeonhole these defendants, at least in the lazy, binary way that media and most people think about politics. Too often people call it a “spectrum,” where the center exists in an ambiguous policy space and the two wings extend infinitely, growing farther apart from each other. In reality, it’s more of a ring, where the two wings eventually end up meeting — at least in practice, if not in principle. There’s not a dime’s difference in the practical outcomes of fascism and communism for the people stuck within them, except for the identities of the people on top of the heap in either system. The same can be said for violent strains of anarchists/police abolitionists/”sovereign citizen” movements, too. Hence Brandon Caserta and his gang of fellow idiots.

We would be in a much healthier environment if we just remembered that violent nutcases represent no one but themselves, and stopped trying to apply their insanity to legitimate policy disagreements. Unfortunately, we don’t have either the media nor political culture to address this in a more healthy manner.

Update: Ben Shapiro cuts right to the heart of this “stupid and dangerous game”:


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Ed Morrissey 4:41 PM on September 29, 2023